Category Archives: Linda Cole

What Can Dogs Sense About Us?

By Linda Cole

Because dogs are social animals, it’s not surprising how connected they are with the people they love. Most dogs are more than willing to protect us from any foe, and we rely on their extraordinary sense of smell and hearing in many ways. However, there are some amazing things dogs can sense about us. Just by paying attention, our dogs can figure out what’s on our mind.

Dogs Can Sense Sadness

Research on how dogs interpret our moods suggests that our canine friends may be capable of feeling empathy in their own unique way when it comes to knowing when you’re feeling sad. In a recent study, scientists found that dogs are more apt to approach someone crying in an effort to comfort them regardless of whether it was someone they knew or a stranger. Humming and talking didn’t garner the same behavior from the dogs in the study. They would try to console the crying person by licking their hands or face, and some took toys to the person to try and cheer them up.

Dogs Can Sense Anger

The “guilty look” on a dog’s face when he’s caught misbehaving isn’t what it seems. He’s just reacting to your angry words and body language. To help defuse a situation and calm you down, the guilty look is his way of saying “I don’t know why you’re upset, but I’m being submissive to help you feel better.” Dogs aren’t capable of feeling guilt, which is why it’s wrong to punish them for doing something they see as natural behavior.

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The Unlikely Animal Friends in the New Android Commercial

By Linda Cole

Every now and then, a commercial comes along that actually gets your attention. A new Android commercial, “Friends Furever,” not only got my attention, it also made me smile. It features 18 different unlikely animal friends, set to the toe tapping tune “Oo-de-lally” from the 1973 Disney animated movie “Robin Hood,” sung by Roger Miller.

The interspecies friendships in this heartwarming commercial show us how simple it is to get along – if we just try. Most of the animals featured were rescued by humans, but found comfort and healing through a special bond with an unlikely animal friend. Here are some of their stories:

Orangutan and Bluetick Hound

After losing his parents, Suryia the orangutan was rescued and sent to an animal sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, SC. He was withdrawn and refused to eat. To cheer him up, caretakers took him on elephant rides to a nearby pond to play. One day, a skinny hound followed them home. He refused to leave and kept finding ways into the sanctuary to be near Suryia. The sanctuary adopted him when an owner couldn’t be found. Normally dogs are afraid of primates, but these two developed an inseparable bond.

Rhino and Sheep

In 2014, staffers from the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center in South Africa found a baby rhino next to his mother. Poachers had killed the adult rhino for her horn. Knowing the traumatized baby would die if left alone, he was sedated and taken back to the center. The little rhino, named Gertjie by the staff, was scared and apprehensive. To comfort him, a sheep was brought in and became his surrogate mother.

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Can Dogs and Cats Get Acne?

By Linda Cole

Acne is something most teenagers have to deal with growing up, and is a condition that can follow some people into their adult years. Humans aren’t the only species, however, that can get pimples. Dogs and cats can also get acne. It won’t make them want to hide until their complexion clears up, but acne can be a problem and cause discomfort for some pets. Stress can be one cause, but there are other reasons why dogs and cats get pimples.

For dogs, their teenage years usually begin around five to eight months of age. This is the time when canines can develop acne on their lips, muzzle, chin and sometimes around their genitals. Fortunately, it only lasts for a short while; once dogs reach their first birthday the acne will most likely disappear.

Acne in dogs begins as raised areas that are hard and red in appearance. Dogs can even have blackheads. Sometimes pimples become itchy, inflamed, swollen and painful when touched. If scratched by the dog, they can pop open and could lead to a secondary infection.

In canines, acne can be caused by hormonal changes, trauma, bacterial infection, allergies, poor diet or poor hygiene, and is more common in breeds with short coats like the Rottweiler, Boxer, Bulldog, Doberman Pinscher and Great Dane. Why some breeds are more predisposed than others is unknown. Signs your dog is dealing with acne include bumps underneath the skin, blackheads/whiteheads, red bumps, redness, swelling, inflammation, itching, hard patches of skin, blisters, small lesions. Some dogs with acne will rub along the carpet or furniture.

Acne in cats is not limited to their teenage years, and can be a recurring life-Dog-Animated-no-offerlong issue. Some cats, however, may have one episode of pimples and never have another one the rest of their lives. It’s unknown what exactly causes pimples in cats, but it could be related to stress, poor grooming habits, a problem with the immune system, or an excessive amount of oil produced by sebaceous glands under the chin. Excess skin oil can clog pores which could be an indication of allergies or an underlying skin condition. Keratin is a protein found the hair, claws and upper layer of the skin, and will sometimes plug up pores causing acne. If your cat does develop acne, you can see what looks like specks of black dirt around the lips and underside of the chin. Acne can be mistaken for flea debris.

Pimples can become infected and swollen. Symptoms to watch for in cats include pain, blackheads/whiteheads, mild reddish pimples, a watery crust on your cat’s chin or lips, swelling around the chin, hair loss, reddish skin, bleeding, itching, and small fluid-filled bumps on the skin.

If your cat develops acne, it could be an allergic reaction to a plastic food or water bowl. Replacing plastic with ceramic or stainless steel bowls might be all you need to do to clear up your pet’s pimples. If you stick with plastic bowls, it’s important to wash them daily. Plastic bowls can hold bacteria which is then picked up by a super-sensitive feline as she eats.

If you find pimples on your dog or cat, never squeeze them because it could cause a serious infection as well as scarring. Don’t use human medications to treat your pet’s acne, either.

Pet acne can be caused by food allergies or other skin conditions. A poor diet lacking in nutrients, vitamins and minerals can not only leave a pet feeling unsatisfied after eating, it also plays a huge role in their overall health. Switching to a high quality diet like CANIDAE natural pet food helps address food allergies and skin conditions.

Never underestimate the importance of good hygiene. Excess oil and a dirty coat can contribute to acne. Oral health is also important. Brushing your pet’s teeth helps control and eliminate bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to acne. Some dogs and cats may need a little help keeping their chin and the area around the mouth clean. Wiping their face off after they eat can help prevent acne. Dogs that get a buildup of saliva in the hair around their mouth should also have their face wiped off to keep it clean and dry.

Acne isn’t a serious problem for most dogs or cats, but it can be severe for some. There are also other medical conditions that can resemble acne. The two most common conditions are a type of noncontagious mange, and ringworm which is a fungal infection. Both need to be treated by a vet. If it turns out to be acne, your vet will prescribe pet safe acne treatment.

Top photo by Luca 4891/Flickr
Bottom photo by Hunda/Flickr

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Who is the Dog on the Westminster Kennel Club Logo?

By Linda Cole

Any dog lover who has watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on TV or viewed one of their programs is familiar with their logo. The dog is a Pointer named Sensation, and was the pride and joy of the kennel club in the organization’s early years. Sensation’s rise to fame began across the pond in England. But why was this particular dog deemed worthy of being immortalized on the club’s logo?

By the late 1800s, New York City was well on its way to becoming the second largest city in the world with around 3.5 million people. The city provided well-to-do citizens with concerts, museums, business opportunities, fine shopping and dining establishments that many poorer residents were excluded from. The Westminster Hotel in Manhattan (which is no longer standing), was a popular place for high society. It was also a favorite hangout for a group of wealthy sporting gentlemen. They met regularly in the hotel’s bar, drinking and telling stories about the abilities of their gun dogs, and bragging about their skill and accomplishments with guns.

During one gathering in 1876, the men decided it would be nice to form a club and have a place where they could kennel their dogs and have a training area. Needing a name for their new club, Westminster was the unanimous choice. The newly formed club purchased land for their kennel and training area, and hired a trainer.

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Can Dogs Recognize Kind-Hearted and Generous People?

By Linda Cole

In the canine world, communication is through yips, growls, barks, and an expert ability to decipher body language. You may not realize your dog watches what you do during social interactions with other people, but just by observing how we treat each other, our canine friends can identify people who might be helpful. A recent study found that dogs can recognize someone who is kind-hearted and generous.

Generosity comes from a Latin word “generosus” which means “of noble birth.” The definition of generosity evolved in the 1600s to mean “a nobility of spirit” which was still associated with people born into the upper class, but it was used to define admirable qualities for an individual person rather than their family history. Generosity eventually evolved sometime in the 1700s to define someone who willingly gives their time, money and possessions to others. Today, we view someone who shows generosity to others as being kind-hearted and helpful – a quality dogs can also understand and recognize.

Social eavesdropping is something we all engage in. It might be a conversation heard between two people standing behind you in a line, or an intentional act of listening to a private conversation. People watching is also a form of eavesdropping. We use our people watching skills to make a judgment call, such as deciding which person in a group would be more helpful and friendly.

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How the St. Bernard Became a Search and Rescue Dog

By Linda Cole

The St. Bernard is a gentle giant today, but in the early years these dogs were smaller and much less refined as a breed. Monks living and working in the Alps were the first to discover the extraordinary ability of the St. Bernard in locating lost travelers passing through the mountains. The breed began as a hospice dog, but became a top notch search and rescue dog because of their unique talents. “Barry of the Great St. Bernard” is a 1977 Disney movie based on the real Barry, who is the most famous St. Bernard of all time.

Located between Switzerland and Italy, the Great Saint Bernard Pass is a 49 mile route used by travelers for centuries to cross over the Western Alps. At 8,000 feet above sea level, there’s only a few months out of the year when it’s snow free. An Augustine monk, St. Bernard de Menthon, established a hospice and monastery in the mountains around 1050, to provide shelter and food to travelers using the snowy pass.

It’s believed the first dogs, used as guard dogs as well as pets, were brought to the monastery between 1660 and 1670. The first St. Bernard dogs were smaller than the breed is today, with a shorter coat and longer tail. In the mid 1700s, guides were sent out to find people needing help to make their way to the monastery. Wide-chested dogs went ahead of them to plow out a path, making it easier for travelers to follow.

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